Getting a second dog as the first one ages

mboston_gwFebruary 10, 2007

A young couple on our street have an elderly dog. The lady has noticed that when she brings her mother's dog over, the elderly dog seems more spry and youthful. (The older dog has trouble getting around but is not presently "dying".) They really would like to get a puppy to have now, knowing that in the near future they will probably lose their 14 year old dog. But she feels guilty and thinks that when the older dog realizes the puppy is staying that it will be upset and resent the puppy and that it might make the older dog despondent.

Now yes, of course, they will continue to give their elderly dog all the love and attention it has always gotten but then the puppy will of course get its share too.

What would you do? Wait till you have lost your elderly dog or go ahead and get a puppy now, in hopes that the elderly dog will enjoy the youthful companionship?

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Dogs are pack animals. That's just silly thinking that the old dog would somehow resent the puppy unless this dog just does not like other dogs and that apparently IS NOT the case since the old dog likes the mother's dog. I think that it is very possible that a young dog could breath some life back into an old dog.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 8:19AM
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I feel the same way although I'd definitely get a younger dog or puppy if I had an aging dog. Even though I'd feel like the older dog would feel like he's being replaced by a newer model, I'm sure this is just a human concept and the older dog probably wouldn't feel that way if they still got time and attention.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 8:49AM
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Dogs are not people and are not truly capable of thinking about being replaced. Dogs are pack animals, when properly socialized, they enjoy being around other dogs. If the dog is really old, I would probably not get a puppy but perhaps a young dog that is 2 or 3 years old.

In my experience, the senior dogs tend to ignore the real young pups in the pack until they mature. The old farts just don't want to be bothered with the youth and exhuberience of the pups.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 12:18PM
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This older dog really wasn't socialized with other dogs until they started bringing in the mother's puppy and it did take some time before the older dog became friendly with it. The tlder dog in a lab mix and the mothers dog is a schnauzer so there is a considerable size difference.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 12:42PM
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I am all for making sure that my dogs have their own dog companions. As my two dogs were older, 11 & 9, I got a one year old dog that has really engaged them in different ways and given them both a new spark. The youngest dog plays with the middle age dog and cuddles with the oldest dog.
I cannot imagine having only one dog, (though I have in the past) as they keep each other company and alert and engaged. Also, I worry that as one dies, the other would become forlorn (I know, a human emotion) and listless if there was not another distraction.
So I say, go ahead and puppy up!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 12:30PM
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Been here, done this.

My dog of 11 with numerous health issues got a second wind that carried her for three more years after I got a THIRD dog, which was supposed to be an "interim" dog, but that's another story.

Old dog perked up incredibly when new (about nine months)dog came along. To this day, I can't believe it.

Lost old dog last January. Pup (four months) came along three months later. Pups are wonderful to have around, a great distraction from gloom, and tons and tons of work. Just what the doctor ordered for my situation.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:52PM
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I wouldn't worry so much about the older dog as the younger one when his friend passes on. Might need 2 younger dogs!

My mom always replaces her elderly dogs before they die. She knows that if she lost her only dog, it would be hard to start searching. If she already has another dog, it eases the grief and you never have to torture yourself with the question of "do I want another dog and if so, when?"

I do things a little bit backwards. I had a 10 year old Husky Aleksander, and a 4 year old Husky Anastasia, when my 6 year old Rottie died. I didn't get another dog for a couple of months when a 6 year old Lab pretty much landed on my lap. Then I adopted an 8 year old Rottie from school. Then Aleksander died. Taht's when I got Tatya, my 1+ year old Husky. I don't have time for a younger dog, especially with school, so a one year old was perfect for me. Plus I didn't have to wait as long to start running with her (better to wait until dog is 18-24 months). I just get dogs that I love at random times and at random ages. Tatya was the first dog that I sought out since my first 2 dogs 11 years ago. All the others were just joyful happenstance.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 6:46PM
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I would never get a second dog, my dachshund (age 15) loves being queen of the house too much.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 3:14PM
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The older dog will teach the younger dog, making life easier for you.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 1:58PM
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We got a playmate for our Pekingnese when he was about 7. The playmate was a 50 pound basset/golden mix. He was a big dog but not much taller than the Peke. It made a world of difference in our Peke's life.

We just adopted 2 bassets (both age 3) and the Peke (now 13 mostly deaf, mostly blind) seems to enjoy the craziness of the new guys.

I would recommend looking for an "older" playmate i.e. 3-4 years old. Puppies seem to drive my boys nuts.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 3:26PM
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My friend decided to wait. She just couldn't bear the thought of Nicki being jealous or could never forgive herself if something happened to Nicki shortly thereafter which she could attribute to the dog being upset with the new addition.

Since I would never forgive myself if I pushed the issure and something did happen, I have let the subject drop. But I did share the responses with her in hope that she might take it into consideration.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 7:01PM
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when/if she's ready, it will be the right time. You're a good friend.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 4:39PM
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It would depend on the dogs and their personalities. I have a 19 year old dog who adores my 3 year old dog. When the youngster was a pup my older dog didn't have any patience for his antics so he put him in his place. Now that the younger dog is 60 lbs. and the older one 20 it's so funny to see them play now. The younger bigger dog knows who the boss is and never crosses that line. He and the old dog play all the time and I know the young dog is keeping the old one going. It really would be better for your friend to get another dog before the other one passes. When she looses her other dog she'll still have the younger one for some comfort. I feel for people who only have one animal and then lose that animal. That has to be so traumatic.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 12:31AM
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An update - my friend ended up getting a young lab puppy around Valentine's Day. She didn't tell anyone since 1) she was afraid she had made a mistake doing so 2)her vet told her to keep the dog away from other dogs until the first three series of shots are done due to Parvo.

We live in a neighborhood and lots of people walk their dogs and visit in the evenings so she was afraid to have "Daisy" exposed to all the odgs. But she helped us out the other day by letting out our puppies while I was gone so she ended up showing me pictures of "Daisy".

She followed what the vet told her to do to help her older dog and the puppy get acquainted by keeping them seperate letting them sniff and rub noses through a baby gate. The when the puppy was tired, letting Nicky come visit for a few minutes, gradually building up the time. Over the next couple of weeks, they became fast friends and Daisy will even lay on top of Nicky and Nicky cleans Daisy. So all is well and happy!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:07PM
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Oh I LOVE happy endings! Your friend made the right decision for her dog and herself. Only once in my life did I have a dog die when she was the only dog I had. It was very painful to not have another dog who depended on me and to help ease the pain.

I also love being back online and reading here.
Hey everybody! Good to see some debates still raging. :-)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 10:56PM
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